Robert Fisk: Keeping out the cameras and reporters simply doesn't work
Monday, 5 January 2009
George W Bush: Hamas is entirely responsible for the Israeli invasion of Gaza http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/co ... 25800.html
What is Israel afraid of? Using the old "enclosed military area" excuse to prevent coverage of its occupation of Palestinian land has been going on for years. But the last time Israel played this game â€“ in Jenin in 2000 â€“ it was a disaster. Prevented from seeing the truth with their own eyes, reporters quoted Palestinians who claimed there had been a massacre by Israeli soldiers â€“ and Israel spent years denying it. In fact, there was a massacre, but not on the scale that it was originally reported.
That the Israelis should use an old Soviet tactic to blind the world's vision of war may not be surprising. But the result is that Palestinian voices â€“ as opposed to those of Western reporters â€“ are now dominating the airwaves. The men and women who are under air and artillery attack by the Israelis are now telling their own story on television and radio and in the papers as they have never been able to tell it before, without the artificial "balance", which so much television journalism imposes on live reporting. Perhaps this will become a new form of coverage â€“ letting the participants tell their own story. The flip side, of course, is that there is no Westerner in Gaza to cross-question Hamas's devious account of events: another victory for the Palestinian militia, handed to them on a plate by the Israelis.
But there is also a darker side. Israel's version of events has been given so much credence by the dying Bush administration that the ban on journalists entering Gaza may simply be of little importance to the Israeli army. By the time we investigate, whatever they are trying to hide will have been overtaken by another crisis in which they can claim to be in the "front line" in the "war on terror".http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/w ... 439608.ece
From The Sunday Times
January 4, 2009
Israel has no choice but to be tough on Hamas - and Iran The dangers from Tel Avivâ€™s enemies are rising while its support around the world falls
Israeli foreboding has general sources and specific causes. The general problems are simple. First, the Arab and wider Islamic worlds have never accepted the legitimacy of Israelâ€™s creation or the continued existence of the Jewish state, notwithstanding Israelâ€™s peace treaties with the Egyptian and Jordanian regimes, signed respectively in 1979 and 1994.
Second, public support for Israel in the West (and in democracies, governments canâ€™t be far behind) has steadily withered over the past few decades, as the memory of the Holocaust - which in an ill-defined but general way underwrote Israel - has dimmed and as Arab power and assertiveness have surged. As well, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and its occasionally heavy-handed treatment of the Arabs have played a part.
Between 1948 and 1982 Israel coped relatively well with the conventional threats posed by the armies of the Arab states, trouncing them repeatedly. But the current threats are unconventional and pose a far more difficult challenge. This past week, Israel has taken on one of them, the Hamas rocketry; in future, it is likely to confront - in the absence of cogent western intervention - the far more dire threat of Iranâ€™s atomic programme.
Benny Morris teaches Middle East history at Ben-Gurion University, Israel, and is author of 1948, A History of the First Arab-Israeli War